New N.Y. Wage Theft Prevention Act Requires Employers to Provide More Detailed Notices to Employees and Includes Enhanced Penalty Provisions

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At the end of his term in December 2010, New York Governor David A. Paterson signed the Wage Theft Prevention Act (“WTPA”) (Senate Bill 8380/Assembly Bill 11726) into law thereby revising portions of Articles 6 (Payment of Wages), 7 (General Provisions), and 19 (Minimum Wage Act).1 The WTPA was drafted to protect workers from employers who sought to pay less than minimum wage, misclassify employees, fail to pay overtime earned, and force employees to work off the clock.2 While the Senate may have been seeking to stop egregious employment practices, the changes that will be required of all employers — violators of the law or not — will be extensive. The WTPA goes into effect on April 9, 2011, and applies to all employees in New York, not just to employees identified as non-exempt.3 It will require employers to make new disclosures to employees, provide those notices at the inception of employment, and then annually thereafter, and obtain an acknowledgement from every employee, every year. The notice requirement expands the state’s previous requirement to notify employees of their pay rate, pay days, overtime eligibility, and rate. There arno exceptions for small employers although employer size is one of the factors to be taken into consideration when penalties are imposed under certain sections of the law. Failure to comply with WTPA provisions will result in higher penalties; thus, all New York employers should prepare to implement these changes.

Under New York law, employers are currently required to inform employees about their rate of pay, the day on which they are typically paid, and the overtime rate to which employees are entitled if they work overtime. A New York employer is also obligated to collect an employee’s acknowledgement of receiving the notice regarding those issues when the employee begins working.4 The WTPA will require that an employer also inform employees about the following...

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